Does renters insurance cover bed bugs, termites, or rodents? When you or your landlord is responsible for the loss? Read this article to know the answers to all such questions.
Bed bugs are normally associated with travel and hotels but this doesn’t mean your home is immune from them. Instead, pest control professionals get more complaints from homes, apartments, and condos compared to hotels and motels.
Bed bugs grow rapidly in summer. The reason is that increased travel during the summer help bed bugs to travel from one place to another helping them in spreading.
If it’s not bad enough for you then here is something you will find hard to swallow.
A standard renters insurance policy generally does not cover bed bugs or other pests.
However, this does not necessarily mean you will have to pay out of your pocket to exterminate the pests.
In some cases, your landlord may be responsible for controlling and exterminating bed bugs and other pests.
Does Renters Insurance Cover Bed Bugs?
As already stated, a standard renters insurance policy generally does not provide coverage for bed bugs. If an infestation happens, you or your landlord will have to pay out of your pocket for exterminating them.
Renters insurance is designed to cover sudden natural or manmade disasters like hurricanes or fire.
Controlling the spread of bed bugs is identified as a home maintenance task and this is the reason it’s not covered by most renters insurance policies.
If you are thinking that only extermination is not covered then you are wrong. Here are the expenses that won’t be covered by your renters insurance policy.
- Medical bills if you get bitten by bed bugs.
- Getting a new mattress due to the destruction of the previous one by bed bugs.
- Living in a hotel while bed bugs are getting exterminated in your home
What Renters Insurance Options Are Available For Bed Bugs?
Some insurers will offer you an endorsement, also known as a “rider” for bed bug extermination cost that is an add-on to your policy.
The endorsement can provide you some relief if your insurance company offers you one.
American National Property and Casualty Company is now offering an endorsement with bed bug coverage of $500, 750$, and 1,000$ for a year. This endorsement can help you to pay for the following things:
- Extermination of bed bugs in your home
- Seal or treat the units adjacent to the infected one to stop the spread or further infestation.
- Cleaning and sanitization of your residence
- Cleaning or replacement of your personal possessions that got infected due to bed bugs.
This also includes additional living expenses if you are forced to live somewhere else due to heavy infestation.
Is Your Landlord Responsible For Bed Bug Extermination Expenses?
It depends on your living location to know if your landlord is responsible to cover the expenses of bed bug extermination.
In some states, the landlord is not responsible to pay for the expenses if the beg bug infestation is found in just one unit. In those states, the tenant is only responsible for routine care of their unit which includes pest control.
However, in some areas of the US like Florida, Maine, and NYC, the landlord is responsible to clean and sanitize the infested unit.
For example, in NYC, landlords are legally required to exterminate the bed bugs within 30 days and to make sure the infestation didn’t happen again.
Landlords are also required to provide 1-year bed bug infestation history to new tenants.
However, this does not imply that your landlord will always have to pay to get rid of the bed bugs in your apartment.
Suppose, there were no bed bugs in your single-family rental home until you returned from a vacation. In such a case, you may be responsible to bring the bed bugs to your home and that’s why you will have to pay to get rid of them.
But if you are a resident in a unit of an apartment building where several other units are infested with bed bugs, in that case, your landlord might have to pay for extermination if your unit also gets infested.
How To Prevent Bed Bugs?
Here are some steps you can take to prevent bed bug infestation.
- If you are bringing second-hand furniture, thoroughly check for any signs of bed bug infestation before purchasing them.
- Cover your mattresses in a protective encasing to remove all the hiding spots. Always use a high-quality encasement that’s hard to tear and try to use a cover treated with pesticide to avoid bed bug infestation.
- Cut the clutter in your home to eliminate hiding spots for bed bugs.
- Be extra cautious when using shared laundry service. If your home is already infested by bed bugs then use a new bag to take clothes to your home after washing.
- If possible, buy a portable heating chamber to clean any item that you think is infested by bed bugs.
How To Treat Bed Bugs?
To eliminate bed bugs, you need to clean up the areas where bed bugs live. Here is how to treat bed bugs.
- Wash beddings, curtains, and clothes in hot water and use the dryer on the highest setting to dry them. For unwashable items, use the dryer on the highest setting for 30 minutes.
- Scrub your mattress with a stiff brush to eliminate bed bugs along with their eggs before vacuuming.
- Keep your bed away from the wall. Make sure there is no contact between the bedding and the floor.
- Bed bugs often hide in the cracks in the wall. You should seal those to eliminate the hiding their hiding area.
- Get bedbug interceptors and place them below the legs of your bed and other furniture like chair or sofa.
Does Renters Insurance Cover Mice and Rat damage?
Just like bed bugs, standard renters insurance policy will not cover any damage caused due to mice or a rat. If you sense the presence of mice, rats, or any other rodent, be quick to act to avoid costly damage and health risks.
Any structural weakness allows rodents to get into your living space. In that case, your landlord will be responsible for covering all the costs related to extermination.
If you see any rodent, contact your landlord so they can address the issue before its spread.
If your landlord acts late and your personal belongings get damaged, you can file a claim for reimbursement from your landlord.
Does Renters Insurance Cover Termite Damage?
Termite damage is not covered by renters insurance policy. But your landlord may be responsible for the extermination cost if their fault leads to infestation.